During term time at uni I was going to the gym about 4-5 times a week. I’d wake up, head to the gym and work up a sweat before heading home to get ready for lectures. Now however, the gym has taken a backseat. We’re half-way through August and it’s the first month since I joined the gym in September last year that I haven’t consistently worked out. Be it down to my raging to-do lists or lack of energy, I haven’t been to the gym in weeks.
Nonetheless, I’m still squeezing home-workouts into my morning routine and incorporating small doses of fitness and wellness to my day-to-day life. So, today I thought I’d share a few realistic ways of improving your fitness without the need of a gym.
Just starting out?
You might be reading this post and be completely clueless as to how to get started with fitness. My advice? I’d 100% recommend trying a few things out at home first to get comfortable with working out and discovering what you enjoy.
What better way to start working than from the comfort of your own home? When I started taking exercise seriously last summer, I began by practicing some basic compound exercises. For example, I focused on my squat stance, increasing my plank endurance and improving my form across all areas. I wouldn’t recommend using weights straight-away. Trust me when I say it’s important to perfect your form first to prevent injury when you begin lifting weights.
Initially, I didn’t really know what I was doing and felt self-conscious, even at home. However, with patience and consistency, I soon felt confident enough and joined the gym near my student flat.
What’s more, there’s no one-size fits all approach when it comes to exercise. Some people commit to a form of working out and hate it. However, will you commit to strength training if you dread every single session? Probably not. Out of all the forms of exercise out there, find one that makes your heart sing. Yes this will require a little bit of experimenting, but finding something you love means excuses won’t even enter the equation when it’s time to work out.
Working-out from home
A lot of us have busy routines, some busier than others, that include full-time jobs, cooking dinner, cleaning up, catching up with friends, writing blog posts, the list goes on. These routines often dominate our days, leaving little time to get our sweat on. However, just like getting up and going to work, making yourself dinner, or taking a shower, exercise can be incorporated into our daily routine.
Working out from home leaves little room for excuses and you can fit it in morning, noon or night depending on when you have the time.
At home essentials
As you become more comfortable you may want to up the ante and purchase a few bits and pieces to improve your work-outs.
Once you’ve perfected your form, start thinking about incorporating weights into your workouts. Strength training is important in terms of retaining muscle and the key to a revved up metabolism. Dumbbells can be found cheap online and how heavy they are should depend on your fitness level.
Another one of my fitness essentials is a resistant band. They’re perfect for toning and upping your game with squats, leg extensions, shoulder bridges, and that’s just a few. I purchased Grace’s resistant bands a couple of month ago and they have quickly become a holy grail. They even came with a guide offering some tips and tricks on how to best use them to your advantage.
Finally, a yoga mat is another essential for any home-workout devotee. Alongside some weights and resistant bands, I’m able to work up a sweat from home whenever I lack time for the gym, with the added bonus of the kitchen and shower being just steps away post-workout.
The benefit of working out from home is having Youtube and other online resources at your disposal to help guide you towards your fitness goals.
A Youtube channel which I owe my heart to is Fitness Blender, who have over 500 free workout videos. My favourites include their sweaty HIIT sessions such as this ‘HIIT Workout for People Who Get Bored Easily’ which burns fat and boosts metabolism, and strength training workouts like this ‘Brutal Butt and Thigh Workout’ which builds muscle. What’s even better? A lot of their workouts require no equipment at all.
In terms of yoga practice, there are so many apps and online videos to guide your practice. I used to think yoga and pilates were a waste of time. However they build strength, tone muscles, increase balance, flexibility and works wonders for your mentality. For instance, this 20 minute Morning Yoga workout by SarahBethYoga is perfect to get your blood flowing while simultaneously toning the body. Another video which is deceivingly difficult is this Toning workout by Tonic. I expected a light session to wake me up but finished the half an hour practice with shaky legs and aching abs.
There is so much online meaning you can easily work-out without going out.
As cliched as it may seem, walking is the easiest way to improve your fitness. With full-time jobs or day-long study sessions, a lot of us lead sedentary lifestyles sat in front of a computer. This, of course, is detrimental for our health, posture and stress levels.
I don’t want to sound like a parrot by telling you to take the stairs or hop off the bus a stop earlier; every health blogger has shouted these activities from the rooftops. However, they’re simple ways of upping your step count and prove that taking steps towards a healthier lifestyle doesn’t have to be difficult. Ever since I’ve gone for more walks while listening to a good podcast, I have noticed a huge change in my mood. So how about you take your lunch breaks outside or meet up with a pal and have a vent over a walk. You can burn some calories and relieve some stress while out from that desk chair.
Ultimately, it’s important to set realistic, sustainable fitness goals and create long-term habits. There’s no such thing as a quick fix, but by making fitness a daily priority, you’ll be well on your way to a healthy, happier you.
How do you incorporate fitness into your daily life?
Thanks for reading,